Archive for September, 2009

28
Sep

Conran’s Shop in Manhattan: A Great Place for Design Inspiration

Conran Outside

I love walking through Conran’s when I visit New York City.  It is full of really interesting designs and it is a great place to get inspired!  Take a look…

Conran inside

Children

Conran Children

The chairs on the left and right above are so fun and cute and they come in a variety of colors!  The table in the center has a bucket for chalk and is covered in chalkboard so children can draw right on the table.

Other Designs

Conran Design

The apple on the left is a lunchbox.  The spice rack in the middle is several clear top containers with magnets on the bottoms on a magnetic board.  This can also be found at the Container Store.

Category : Design | Blog
27
Sep

Make it Special with a Cake Stand

Layer cakes are one of my favorite things to bake because they taste so good and look so nice.  A cake stand can make all the difference in the presentation of a cake.

Cake Stands

One of my aspirations in life was to make a wedding cake.  When my father decided to get married, the perfect opportunity presented itself!  I called my dad and asked, “Would you be willing to let me make your wedding cake?”  and he said yes!

The research began.  The cake needed to taste really good and look amazing!  I needed a recipe, a cake stand, a mixer, cake decorating tools… whoa what had I gotten myself into? I found everything I needed and planned the process out carefully.  To add to the pressure of making a cake for a wedding, I found out that one of the women at my dad’s church was very skeptical and concerned that my dad would let me take on such an important part of the wedding.  Yikes!

I arrived in Nashville three days before the wedding and armed with 20 lemons, 3 dozen eggs, 5 pounds of flour, 2 pounds of sugar, 10 pounds of butter… I began the process.

The day of the wedding arrived and all of the pieces of the cake were done.  Now all I had to do was take the pieces to the church and assemble them.

It is important to stop here and fill in a few details.

1.  It is August in Nashville, Tennessee and therefore a million degrees with 500% humidity.

2.  To save costs, the church doesn’t keep the air conditioning on when no one is there.

3.  Only one person in the church has access to turn the air conditioning on.

I arrived with my dad and my sister at the church to find that it was boiling hot.  With no time to spare and the pressure of having an amazing cake put together in an hour, I began the process while my dad frantically called the person who has access to the air conditioning.  I placed the first layer (out of 9) on the first tier of the cake stand and began spreading the buttercream frosting.  The frosting immediately began melting and sliding down the sides of the cake.  New strategy.  Frost a layer and run to the fridge.  Let it cool for 5 minutes, quickly frost the next layer and run to the fridge. I was never so happy to hear the sound of air conditioning turn on in my life.  I finally finished the rest of the cake, placed the flowers on top, and put it in the reception area.  Whew!

Much to my relief (and much to the surprise of the woman who doubted my abilities) the cake was a big hit.

I can now say that I have made a wedding cake, and I will never make another one again!  :-)

Category : Entertaining | Blog
21
Sep

A Classic Look with Blue Walls and White Accents

img71

This Pottery Barn picture gave me an idea for designing my new office in my new house.  One idea is to have 2 white walls and 2 blue walls.  On one of the blue walls I will have my desk and white shelves, and on the other will be my husband’s desk.  I just love the way the white pops against this blue.  Hopefully I will have updates on this idea once I get around to designing the new office.

Category : Design | Blog
15
Sep

We’re moving…someday.

gavel

So we set our closing date for October 2nd, but just found out that the people in the house won’t be moved out by then.  They are now saying they will be out by October 14th,     so we are trying to reschedule our closing date for October 16th.  We have officially given notice to our landlord, so I really REALLY hope the timing of everything works out!

Category : House Hunting | Blog
14
Sep

Finding the Perfect Coffee Table

Perfect Coffee Table

On the list of the many new items I would like to put in my new home is a coffee table.  My inspiration is a coffee table in my husband’s grandmother’s living room.  It is a very simple round coffee table, but I love it.  I have discovered through my searches that I don’t like very many of the round coffee tables available today. Above are some of my favorite options so far.

Category : Design | Blog
9
Sep

House Inspection

We had our inspection today, and now we have our weekends planned with home improvement projects for the next 50 years.

We pulled up to the house at 12:30 and our realtor came running towards us.

Problem Number 1:

“We found a major issue!  I think this house might be more than you want to take on for your first home.  We can just call off the inspection now and save you some money.”

My thoughts: First thought – ok, we just got here.  Second thought – what the hell is she talking about?  Third thought – the agony of buying this house was all for nothing!

After we stepped back for a moment and discussed the situation, we found out there was a crack in the foundation that the inspector didn’t like.  Upon further inspection (2 hours later) he decided it wasn’t nearly as bad as he first thought.

Problem Number 2:

The picture below pretty much sums it up.  I am examining where the front of the house is boarded up and there are crumbled bricks on the ground.  Take note of my lovely facial expression.  I am thinking, “How does something like this happen?”

House Inspection

We found out later just how something like that happens when one of the people living in the house came home.  When we asked him what happened, he got this huge grin on his face and started to laugh.  Apparently this was going to be a very funny story.  He proceeded to tell us that a woman got into her car on the street and floored it and instead of driving down the street, drove straight into the front of the house!  At this point I am thinking, “Yeah that’s a super funny story, if you aren’t the people buying the house!”

Now, if you saw the hill in the front yard, you would be wondering how she could possibly get up the hill and into the front of the house accidentally.  Which makes me wonder…was this an accident???  Hmmm… maybe she was madly in love with the owner of the house and walked in to find him with another woman.  The only obvious way to show her rage and hurt was to drive into the front of his house.  Yes, that must be what happened.

Anyways, we will be searching for a good brick mason.

Problems 3 – 496:

In addition to the problems I have already mentioned, the house has your typical, I am 45 years old and haven’t been loved for a while problems.  I won’t bore you with the details.  All I can say is that even though this was super overwhelming and really scary, we are still in love with the house.  We see the amazing living space and the great potential and our future filled with DIYing and TLCing and we still say “YES!  This is our home.”

…hopefully we will still be saying that a year from now.  :-)

Our closing date is set for October 2nd.  Let the sweat equity party begin!

Category : House Hunting | Blog
5
Sep

Minestrone Soup

I love making soups in the fall and the flavor combination and easiness of this soup makes it great for a weeknight dinner.  Serve with warm bread and a salad for a complete meal.

Minestrone Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups assorted vegetables, cut into cubes if necessary (I use corn, potatoes, peas, and garbanzo beans)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 14.5oz. can chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 1/2 cups rotini
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Place 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large, deep saucepan and turn the heat to medium.  A minute later, add the onion and carrot and cook stirring about 5 minutes or until   onion softens.

Add remaining vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and cook stirring for 1 minute.  Add chicken broth and tomatoes. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes.  Bring to a boil and add pasta.  Boil until pasta is done, about 10 minutes.  Serve in bowls and sprinkle with cheese.

Category : Recipes | Blog
4
Sep

The Grand Finale

I went to work this morning and checked my email every 5 seconds and waited for the phone to ring.  The suspense was incredible, ridiculous, heart-stopping…

 

Finally at 11:00 AM the phone rings and my husband is on the other line:

“OK”

“OK, what?!”

“We got the house!”

“Really?! That’s amazing!”

Happy dance commences.

 

The contract was signed at 3:30 PM and it is official!  We got the house!  Now the whirlwind of getting to closing begins.  

Our inspection is scheduled for Wednesday.  Fingers crossed.

Category : House Hunting | Blog
3
Sep

Please let the saga end (I don’t like roller coasters, especially when they relate to my emotions)

Everybody said that buying a house would be hard, emotional, frustrating, etc., but what the hell!  I can’t take this.  We got our offer in on Tuesday morning (once again after the other people – they must have offer writing super powers).  Both offers were sent to the bank at the same time, and the bank immediately wrote back and said, “There have been multiple offers on this property.  Please submit your best and final offer by 5:00 PM tomorrow.”  OK, so that’s how we’re going to play it.  Great!

It has now been 29 hours and 52 minutes since the final offer deadline passed.  We found out that a total of 3 offers were placed on the house, and we were told that the bank should let us know tomorrow who got the house.  I am going to need some serious sleeping aids tonight (I managed a whopping 4 hours last night, and during those 4 hours I dreamed about moving into the house).  If you are looking for a constant rush of adrenaline in your life, just go house shopping, become completely attached to one house in particular – make sure that house already has an offer on it, then watch the status of the house change, put in a new offer and add one more person to the mix to compete with and you will achieve the rush you are seeking.  

I hope that tomorrow I have some really good news to report.

Category : House Hunting | Blog